ah-sê-dên-si • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A fit of yawning. 2. The drowsiness, slowness, laziness or indolence caused by fatigue or need for sleep.
Notes: This word is the noun from the adjective oscitant "yawning, drowsy, sluggish", itself based on the seldom used verb oscitate "to yawn or gape open". Don't forget to change the Y to I before the plural ending: oscitancies.
In Play: Oscitancy is usually accompanied by a previous Good Word, pandiculation, stretching from sleepiness: "Mortimer talked a half hour about the advantages of eating raw seeds and vegetables to a sea of oscitancy and pandiculation." However, this word is probably more often used in reference to sluggishness or dullness resembling that of sleepiness: "Jacob seems a bit more oscitant to finish cleaning the garage than he was to start the job."
Word History: Today's word comes from the present participle, oscitan(t)s, of the Latin verb oscitare "to yawn, open, gape", made up of os "mouth" + citare "to move". The root of citare, cit-, is shared with the hest of English behest (old [k] became [h] in Germanic languages like English). (We never oscitate at the words suggested by Luciano de Oliveira, one of the editors of the Good Word series, because his suggestions are always intriguing.)
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